The digital platform has been a boon for many films boasting of edgy and out of the box content. However, ever since the pandemic hit the world, we have seen some conventional family films also make its way on OTT. SARDAR KA GRANDSON, which has been released today on Netflix, joins this club. The trailer has sparked curiosity among viewers and it seems to be a feel-good entertainer. So does SARDAR KA GRANDSON manage to entertain and touch the hearts of the viewers? Or does it fail to impress? Let’s analyse.
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SARDAR KA GRANDSON is the story of a devoted grandson trying to fulfil his ailing grandmother’s last wish. Amreek (Arjun Kapoor) resides in Los Angeles with his girlfriend Radha (Rakul Preet Singh). Both run a movers and packers company called ‘Gently Gently’. Amreek has a laidback and carefree attitude and doesn’t believe in owning up to his mistakes. This affects his work and also his relations with Radha. Fed up with his behaviour, Radha breaks up with him. Amreek is devastated. This is when his father, Gurkeerat aka Gurki (Kanwaljit Singh) calls him from his home in Amritsar, Punjab. He tells Amreek that he should return immediately as his grandmother, Sardar (Neena Gupta), is sick. Sardar, aged 90, has a tumour. The doctors advise Gurki that they should take her home as operating her at this age can prove fatal. Gurki realizes Sardar doesn’t have much time but he hides this fact from Sardar. Sardar, meanwhile, has a wish. She wants to go to Lahore, Pakistan and visit the house that she built with her husband, late Gursher Singh (John Abraham) in 1946. A year later, during Partition, Gursher dies while fighting the rioters. Sardar however escapes and reaches India. Since then, she has been missing Gursher and the house. Hence, it’s her desire to visit Pakistan so that she could see her ancestral house. Sardar tells Amreek about it. Gurki advises Sardar that she can’t travel in this condition. But Amreek realizes how much this means to her. He promises her that he’ll help fulfil her wish. He tries to get her visa. However, her application is rejected as she’s blacklisted from visiting Pakistan. This is because a few years ago, she had attacked a Pakistani official, Saqlain Niazi (Kumud Mishra) when she had gone to watch an India vs Pakistan cricket match. This is when Amreek learns that Radha has transplanted a nearly hundred-year-old tree in the USA. Amreek thus begins to learn about structural relocation and realizes that a lot of people have successfully lifted a house and transplanted it to a different location. Amreek requests help from both the government of India and Pakistan for his mission. Both decide to help him, in principle. Amreek then decides to visit Lahore. However, he hides about his plan from Sardar. He fears that if he fails in his endeavour, she’ll be heartbroken. Hence, Amreek pretends to go back to Los Angeles in front of Sardar. Amreek reaches Lahore and successfully is able to find Sardar’s house. But when he reaches there, he sees that the local authorities are about to demolish the structure! What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Anuja Chauhan and Kaashvie Nair’s story is lovely and quite promising. Anuja Chauhan and Kaashvie Nair’s screenplay is first-rate. Yes, there are a few loose ends and something should have been done about it. But the writers score when it comes to emotional quotient. And that compensates for most shortcomings. Also, the message of harmony between India and Pakistan is well-woven. Amitosh Nagpal’s dialogues are in sync with the film’s mood and the character’s personality traits. However, one dialogue of Amreek being a little crackpot because he was injured in childhood is repeated too many times needlessly.
Kaashvie Nair’s direction is superb. This was not an easy film to pull off. But Kaashvie comes out with flying colours especially in the emotional and dramatic scenes. The character of Sardar is the soul of the film and one can easily connect with her tragic past and her desire to see her Lahore house. However a few scenes defy logic. For instance, it’s amusing to see that Sardar’s house was left untouched for as long as 70 years in what seemed to be a congested and prime locality. In fact, when Amreek enters the house for the first time, one expects the house to be in a shabby condition but surprisingly, it doesn’t seem to have been abandoned since 7 decades. Also, the manner in which Sardar’s family cuts off internet and DTH connection from their residence so that Sardar doesn’t learn about Amreek’s mission is hard to digest. Lastly, a teenaged boy named Chhote (Mir Mehroos) starts helping Amreek. It’s quite touching the way he goes all out but why he does it or why does he oppose the demolition in the first place and his backstory are never established.
SARDAR KA GRANDSON isn’t really engrossing from the first sequence. It takes a while to get used to Amreek’s personality and behaviour. But things get better once he reaches Amritsar. His interactions with Sardar are lovely. The manner in which India’s Ministry of International Relations decides to help while being in foreshadows is too good. The second half presumably begins once Amreek reaches Lahore. The scene where he stops the demolition is hilarious. From here on, though the film drags, it is peppered with some very heartwarming and moving scenes that are sure to put a smile on one’s face and also leave one’s eyes moist. The last 20 minutes again could have been trimmed but at the same time, it is applause worthy.
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Arjun Kapoor delivers a very fine performance. In fact, this is his best performance in the last 3-4 years. In the second half especially, he puts up a very good act. Neena Gupta is adorable. The film revolves around her and she enhances the impact. However, her character’s quirks reminds one of Rishi Kapoor in KAPOOR & SONS . Rakul Preet Singh is hardly there in the first half and is quite impressive in the second hour. Kanwaljit Singh is dependable as always. Kumud Mishra does great as the antagonist. Shahid Lateef (Pakistani cop Rauf Khalid) is apt for the part. Mahika Patiyal (Pinky; Amreek’s sister) leaves a mark. Soni Razdan (Simi; Amreek’s mother), Divya Seth Shah (Honey; Sardar’s second daughter-in-law) and Ravjeet Singh (Lovely) don’t get much scope. Arvinder Bhatti (Gurbaz Chacha) is wasted. Mir Mehroos gives a great performance but as aforementioned, one fails to understand why he is excitedly helping Amreek. The other actors who do well are Rajiv Kachroo (Pakistani High Commissioner Qureshi), Masood Akhtar (Khan sahab, who owns the house), Akashdeep Sabir (Contractor who organizes the demolition) and Priya Tandon (Pakistani journalist who interviews Amreek). Finally, John Abraham and Aditi Rao Hydari (Young Sardar) are cute in the flashback scenes.
Tanishk Bagchi’s music is not memorable but is in sync with the narrative. <em>’Naal Rab Ve'</em> is the best song of the lot and is well sung by Divya Kumar. <em>’Dil Nahin Todna'</em> serves as a nice opening credit song. <em>’Main Teri Ho Gayi'</em> is sweet while <em>’Jee Ni Karda'</em> is foot-tapping. Gulraj Singh’s background score goes well with the film’s mood.
Mahendra J Shetty’s cinematography is appropriate. Subhash Shinde’s prosthetic make-up for Neena Gupta is convincing though it could have been slightly more realistic. Sujeet Subhash Sawant and Sriram Kannan Iyengar’s production design is authentic. Sheetal Sharma’s costumes are real yet glamorous. Futureworks’ VFX is quite good. A lot of VFX is used in the later part of the film and it’s neat. Maahir Zaveri’s editing could have been better. The film is 139 minutes long and should have been shorter by at least 10 minutes.
On the whole, SARDAR KA GRANDSON is a heart-warming, touching tale that has its emotions in the right place. It might not be logical at some places but it compensates for this shortcoming with the emotional quotient, message, touching climax and performances. Also, it’s a clean entertainer and deserves to be watched with your whole family. Recommended!